Yellow cards proved costly as Munster scored 35 points while the Ospreys were a man short at Irish Independent Park on Friday night.
Second rows Giorgi Nemsadze and Adam Beard were sent to the bin as the visitors struggled to deal with Munster’s attacking maul and the home team took full advantage against a youthful Ospreys line-up.
Luke Morgan marked his first Guinness PRO14 appearance with a try, while there was an Ospreys debut off the bench for Guido Volpi after the break.
In truth there was a pretty low-key start but the contest burst into life in the 13th minute when, with a penalty advantage in Munster’s favour, it was Darren Sweetnam who burst free up the left flank. His chip and chase bounced nicely for him as he stepped his man and carried into the 22 where only a perfectly timed tackle from James Hook stopped a certain try.
Munster were able to keep the visitors pinned back close to their line with a series of penalties, going to the corner and getting joy from the maul. After a series of attempts that were halted illegally, referee Stuart Berry finally lost patience, running under the sticks to signal seven points and sending Nemsadze to the sidelines for 10 minutes.
It was just a couple of minutes later that the Ospreys got their side of the scoreboard moving, Sam Davies with three points from the right hand side after a high tackle.
However, the Ospreys found themselves back under their posts immediately, Davies’ clearance kick from the restart going straight to his opposite number, Joey Carbery, who scythed his way straight through from 25m out to score, before adding the extras to his own score.
A penalty for not releasing allowed Davies to put over his second kick, cutting the deficit to eight points. However, for the second time, the Ospreys failed to exit, Munster winning the turnover, Chris Cloete getting close to the line and James Cronin eventually burrowing his way over. Carbery’s second conversion meant the scoreboard was showing 21-6 by the time Nemsadze returned to the action.
As half-time approached the Ospreys were desperate to get back to the shed without conceding anymore points but the pressure from Munster was relentless. Only great defensive work on the line from Olly Cracknell and Morgan Morris stopped Sam Arnold getting the ball down, the TMO confirming no try.
Then, with the opening 40 complete, Adam Beard became the second Osprey sent to the bin as another Munster maul went to ground. The home team were quick to take advantage of the extra man, Cronin rounding off another drive to score his second, Carbery converting before the teams headed off at the break.
HALF-TIME: MUNSTER 28-6 OSPREYS
Munster began the second half as they’d finished the first, and they had added two more tries within six minutes of the restart, the first seeing Rhys Marshall dabbing down from another drive before Arno Botha powered over from close range after a break up the left.
Both tries were converted by Carbery, the scoreboard moving up to 42-6.
With Beard back amongst it and the numbers leveled up, the next score went to the Ospreys on the hour, their first on the night and the first Guinness PRO14 score for Luke Morgan, his pace taking him up the wing, stepping infleld to score, Davies converting.
Not for the first time though the Ospreys were unable to keep their line intact after scoring themselves and Munster were soon celebrating again as Sweetnam scored on the left, replacement outside half Ian Keatley adding the two points.
It was long over as a contest but replacement Hanno Dirksen was in credit for his chase back to bring down Tommy O’Donnell on the line, the Munster man losing the ball in the tackle.
Attention now turns to Benetton Rugby at the Liberty Stadium next Saturday night (7.35pm KO).